North Texas Daily

Scholars show off their work this weekend

Scholars show off their work this weekend

February 18
01:58 2011

By Taylor Jackson / Staff Writer –

More than 250 participants from around the country are coming to UNT this weekend to show off research they hope will inspire each other to greater heights.

The 13th annual McNair Scholar Convention, will be the 10th hosted at UNT. Running today through Sunday, the conference, is open to the public and will be a showcase for scholars that want to present their research.

The McNair Scholarship program consists of about 6,000 student scholars who have produced cutting-edge breakthroughs in a variety of fields ranging from genetics to political economics.

“This convention really shows students what can be done. All of these scholars are undergrads that just put the time in,” said John Ishiyama of the political science faculty and member of the program’s advisory board.

The scholarship program is named after Ronald E. McNair, a physicist who became the second African-American NASA astronaut. McNair died when the Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986.

Participating scholars will travel from 22 universities across the country to attend the conference, said Diana Elrod, the director of the program at UNT.

Topics this year include the shoe repair industry in the modern culture, capital punishment in Texas and the effects of medication found in the water supply on the development of fish.

To meet the requirements for McNair, a student must have a 3.0 grade point average or higher and want to conduct research. Students must also demonstrate a need for financial aid in order to pursue a doctoral degree. The program also looks for those who could become first-generation doctoral students.

Adrian Cadar, a biology senior, plans to go to graduate school in the near future and said he hopes to get his Ph. D and possibly his M.D.  He said McNair has prepared him for the challenges of research and public presentation. He gave a presentation in front of the Texas Legislative and is presenting his research on a mechanism that governs the closure of an important embryonic fetal blood vessel at the McNair convention.

“It definitely helps developing you in the way of critical thinking,” Cadar said.

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